There are many numbers and symbols that you might encounter when reading music for the guitar. Different styles of numbers and letters are used to denote different things, and a few of them may be occasionally confused.  Here is what they mean:


symbols used in guitar notation

symbols used in guitar notation



Lowercase letters p, i, m, a, s denote right hand fingers.

Lowercase italics letters ppp, pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff, fff denote dynamics or volume.

Arabic numerals in boxes or Uppercase letters inside of boxes are rehearsal letters/numbers to denote starting points to be used in rehearsal.

Arabic numerals denote left hand fingers.

Arabic numerals inside a circle denote guitar strings.

Roman numerals denote either a left hand position or a fret number.

Roman numeral followed by a bracket, or the letter C followed by a roman numeral and a bracket denote a bar to be used on a specific fret.

I’ll be updating this post with typed examples of these symbols as soon as I can find a way to import the music fonts into wordpress. If you know how to do this, please contact me soonest!  Thanks!